August 4, 2009

Any dog or cat can bite, even cute ones

Any animal can bite, even cute, friendly ones that people have known for years, a U.S. veterinarian warns.

If they are put in a new and threatening situation, they may bite, Dr. Kate Stenske of the University of Kansas in Manhattan said in a statement.

To prevent bites from pets, it helps to recognize subtle signs of fear, nervousness or aggression in an animal, Stenske says.

When it comes to strange dogs, Stenske says, it's best to never approach them, but if a strange dog approaches, veterinarians advise children to stand still like a tree, or if on the ground to curl up like a rock.

Waving your arms, running or making noise will keep the dog's interest, while staying perfectly still will encourage the dog to walk away, she said.

More information on dog bite prevention is available on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Web site at: